The political head of the Ministry is the Minister of Mineral Resources, Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray and by consequence the direct representative of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. He is assisted by the Deputy Minister, Mr. Abdul Ignosi Koroma. The political wing provides the strategic direction of the Ministry. In collaboration with the Administrative and Professional wings, the political wing formulates and presents policies and legislation for the consideration of Cabinet and Parliament.
The Ministry is divided into three main sections:
- The Administration (Office of the Permanent Secretary)
- Mines Division
- Geological Survey Division
The Permanent Secretary (PS), Mrs. Fatmata S. Mustapha, is the Head of the Ministry’s Administration. She is responsible for coordination, monitoring and ensuring that policies emanating from Government are effectively implemented. The PS is supported by two Deputy Secretaries, two Senior Assistant Secretaries, one Assistant Secretary, one Procurement Officer and an accounting team as well as clerical staff.
The Professional wing of the Ministry consists of two divisions: (i) the Mines Division; and (ii) the Geological Survey Division.
The Mines Division administers the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act, the Explosive Act and the regulations made under these Acts. These include the issue of all mineral rights and the administration and supervision of all activities under these rights. This Division also issues Mining Licences to Artisanal and small-Scale miners, and administers the regulations on the mining and marketing of precious minerals through the Government Gold and Diamond Office (GGDO) produced under these licences.
Key officers in the Mines Division:
Director of Mines: Jonathan A. Sharkah
Assistant Director of Mines: n/a
Government Mining Engineer: (Bo) Thomas K.O. Akinbobola
Government Mining Engineer: (Kenema) Sahr Tamba
Government Mining Engineer: (Kono) Alhassan S.S. Fulllah
Government Mining Engineer: (Makeni)
The Geological Survey Division, headed by Director Ms Agatha John, undertakes the geological mapping of Sierra Leone, prospecting and exploration operations, the collection, compilation, publication and dissemination of data and information concerning the geology and mineral resources of the country. The Geological Survey also advises Government on all matters of geological nature.
The performance of these duties creates the conditions that are conducive to the granting of mineral rights to interested investors with Government’s aim in pursuing a more creative mining development policy. The geological database includes 1:1,000,000 scale map of the whole country; 1:250,000 scale geological maps of northern Sierra Leone, and 1:50,000 scale geological maps of the Sula Mountains and Kangari Hills. Over the past 15 years the GSD has completed a number of modest geochemical and geological surveys.
A pilot cadastre system has been put in place in Kono District. The aim is to have use of the cadastre system covering the whole country by 2008. the system would allow an open and transparent method of all mineral rights in the country, and will ensure correct and prompt payment of fees and notification for renewal as and when due.
The Government Gold and Diamond Office (GGDO), which came into existence in 1985 in pursuance of government policy to rationalize the foreign exchange regime in the country, is now the Gold and Diamond Division (GDD) within the National Revenue Authority (NRA). The functions of the GDD are: (i) the valuation of gold and diamonds for export; and (ii) the collection of export charges, taxes and royalties on behalf of the government. The GDD has become extremely important since the UN Security Council Resolution 1306 of July 2000 on conflict diamonds. It now handles the certification of all diamonds exported legally from Sierra Leone. For administrative purposes it falls under the National Revenue Authority but its technical function is co-ordinated by the Mines Division.
The Minerals Advisory Board
The Mines and Minerals Act established a Minerals Advisory Board that advises the Minister in the discharge of his statutory responsibilities under it and this, in effect, limits the wide range of discretionary powers he had under the old legislation which the average i nvestor was hardly ever comfortable with. The Board is made up of fourteen (14) members including the Director of Mines as Secretary and the Director of Geological Survey as member. The local Chamber of Mines is very much represented on the Board with others from the industry and together, presents an informed voice of the industry in its deliberation. The Secretary to the Board is a senior member of the Ministry of Mineral Resources.
Composition of the Minerals Advisory Board:
- Director of Mines (Secretary of the Minerals Advisory Board)
- Director of Geological Survey
- Commissioner-General of National Revenue Authority
- Representative of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice
- Representative of the Ministry responsible for local government
- Representative of the Ministry responsible for the environment
- Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mineral Resources
- Two persons with considerable qualifications and experience in the mining industry